Deborah Raffin Dies; 7th Heaven Star was 59

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Deborah Raffin, who enjoyed successful careers as an actress and publisher, has died.

The 7th Heaven star was 59 and reportedly had battled leukemia for about a year.

Deborah Raffin

Starting out, the blonde Californian was often compared to the young Grace Kelly.

Her mother, Trudy Marshall, had been a bit player for 20th Century Fox in the '40s.

Through no fault of her own, Raffin made a string of bad movies in the '70s, including 40 Carats and Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough.

Nevertheless, she kept her face and figure before the public as a fashion model.

She met her future husband, manager and, ultimately, business partner, Michael Viner, on a blind date in 1974, and they married four months later.

Ten years later, they founded Dove Books-on-Tape, which they expanded into a highly successful book publishing and movie and TV production.

Before her prolific publishing career, Deborah Raffin served as co-executive producer on 1,600 titles and line-produced more than 400 audio books.

On the CW's 7th Heaven, she also starred as Aunt Julie from 1996-2007.

The Viners' marriage ended in divorce in 2005; he died of cancer in 2009. Raffin is survived by a brother, sister and a daughter, Taylor Rose Viner.